The information below has been sent from a WEEP News reader living in Toronto:
As a result of the environmental sensitivities, I also cannot use the telephone for more than a few minutes, or be around wireless technology (cell-phones, cell antennas, cordless phones, wireless computer networks or smart meters) without suffering sometimes debilitating symptoms that can take days to clear up.
A woman named Karen (I have not caught her last name) who I have been in communication with in the past about my security deposit, left a disturbing message on my machine a couple of weeks ago, expressing a shocked disbelief about my severe reactions to chemicals as I had never discussed that with her. She was aware that I am in receipt of ODSP (due to being disabled). I don't remember if the nature of my disability was discussed or if it was even relevant in those discussions. I have however discussed them in detail with at least a couple of other Hydro people when I started the account in my name and have done follow-ups regarding my readings.
Karen also proceeded to say that the smart meters have less EMF than the regular meters. What she does not understand about that and my objection to a smart meter, is that the wireless signal carries a great distance and EMF drops off after a few feet. As my meter is in the basement, the EMF are not a concern to me, but the wireless would affect me even from the neighbours (if I had any). Also, the technology is different. EMF and wireless are not the same thing. (see the 1st link below for more detailed information)
Due to my disability, I cannot allow people who use petro-chemical products on their bodies or clothing into my home, nor can I co-exist with wireless technology, just like someone who is allergic to peanuts cannot live in a house made of peanuts, have furnishings made of peanuts or allow guests in who are eating peanuts.
Therefore, I officially request that unless Hydro can find someone who is chemical-free* to do the reading(s), that you accept my phoned-in readings and understand that although I do try my best, I might make a mistake, but that it should be corrected without a huge to-do over it.
(* The meter reading person cannot just say they are chemical free, their product use needs to be discussed and approved by email, as most people really don't have a clue, thinking if they don't apply perfume or cologne that they are scent-free, which is not the case, and also, many chemicals that do not have any scent are still disabling - carbon monoxide and radon for example as everyone has heard of them)
Also, I request that Hydro does not make an attempt to replace my non wireless meter with a wireless one which would subject me to disabling and unbearable symptoms 24/7 in my home, which is the only place I can be without a constant worsening of symptoms.
Some kind of a safe solution needs to be found for the growing number of ElectroHyperSensitive people in this province, country, and the rest of the world. Sweden recognizes and accommodates the condition, creating safe spaces for the affected. Ontario and Canada recognize ES, but so far dignified accommodation is lacking.
I look forward to a timely and dignified resolution to these issues.
Here is Toronto Hydro's 1st response to my letter regarding the smart meters etc.
I've resolved the meter reading issue by sending them photos of my meter (which is indoors). The best they could do is offer to use coveralls for whoever came, but couldn't guarantee the chemical safety of the coveralls.
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 09:13:23 -0400
Subject: Re: re hydro bill and human rights issues
Dear , -------------
Thank you for taking the time to communicate your concerns regarding radiation emitted from smart meters.
We have reviewed your concerns and we are providing a response herein.
The installation of smart meters is an initiative that has been mandated to all electrical local distribution companies in Ontario, by the Ministry of Energy. The government has mandated that smart meters will be installed in all homes including condos and businesses across the province by year-end 2010. For more information regarding the Ministry of Energy's initiative, we have provided to you a hyper-link.
The key initiatives of the provincial government are to have consumers in Ontario shift and conserve the energy usage. Smart meters are a critical part of the strategy to build a culture of conservation that will enable us to reduce electricity use at peak times, and will contribute substantially to environmental initiatives such as taking coal fired generation plants off-line. The long-term rewards could lead to a majority of green energy sources, as well a stable and reliable electricity infrastructure.
With respect to the emission of radio frequency from the smart meter system, tests and calculations conducted by the product vendor demonstrate that radio frequency emissions are less than one tenth of the City of Toronto safety recommendations, and more than a thousand times less than the Health Canada Safety Code 6 guideline. For more information, we have provided a hyper-link to Health Canada's website.
Furthermore, smart meters actually broadcast for very brief periods of time at infrequent intervals, and the emissions from the meter diminish rapidly within a few centimeters of the front of the meter. The meters operate in total for approximately 10 minutes of each day.
Ms. , we trust that this helps with your inquiry. If further information is required, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Care Department at (416) 542-8000, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (excluding statutory holidays) or email us at email@example.com.
Toronto Hydro Electric System
Customer Care Operation
ContactUs E-mail processing center
"Receive and pay your hydro bills online with our new eBilling service!"
Visit us at www.torontohydro.com/eBills
-------------------------------------------------------------------- To Health Canada
Dear Ms. Pieterson,
Thank you for your August 5 response regarding my emails asking for reviews of current evidence which indicate harm from non-thermal radiation. You said you would be asking people in your department to review the information that I had sent. May I please ask that you ask independent scientists outside Health Canada to review the information as well, to ensure a non-biased consideration? As outlined in my petition to the Auditor General last year (#255) there is evidence that affiliation with the telecommunication by members of the Department lead to many lacking faith in their opinions.
You recommended that I consider the recent ICNIRP report on health effects from exposure to non-thermal radiation. I have read the report and recommend it highly to your staff. There is much there that supports my contention that Safety Code 6 is inadequate for establishing public exposure limits to non-thermal radiation, but in this communication I will limit myself to the portion referring to FM broadcasting. This is of particular interest since I live in the midst of 3 FM transmitters having total power capacity of 140,000 watts which were placed in my densely populated neighbourhood in 2000 with no consideration for health consequences.
1. ICNIRP's guidelines are "to protect the public against short term gross heating effects and not against biological effects such as cancer and genetic damage from long term low level microwave exposure from mobile phones, their masts and many other wireless devices."
Please note: Health Canada's Safety Code 6 guidelines are basically the same as ICNIRP's, even though I have been told they do protect against all thermal and non-thermal effects.
2. On page 266 a study is reported on in which bodies were exposed to 100 Mhz for 45 minute. This is the exact frequency of one of the FM transmitters near my home and well within the non-thermal range. The result was localized temperature increases of 4 degrees C, and indications of core body stress heating and 'hot spot' heating of the brainstem and spinal cord.
3. On page 269 is the statement that such heating can cause increased blood flow, vasodilation, and cardiac and circulatory responses especially is people with heart or vascular problems, or on certain medications.
4. On page 273 it states that such whole-body heat stress can affect cognitive function, blood chemistry, and the immune system.
5. And a final particularly concerning statement on page 322: "Radio and TV transmitters have a large coverage area and therefore operate at relatively high power levels up to about 1MW (Dahme 1999). Although these transmitters could generate fairly high fields at ground level, most are not located in heavily populated areas and thus do not lead to high exposure of the population."
As I stated above, I am living in an area of high exposure, where my entire body is subjected to RF radiation on a long-term basis, and thus is being stressed by non-thermal heat constantly. My neighbours, similarly exposed, complain of nightsweats, difficulty sleeping, cognitive function reduction, immune system attacks, and cancer to name a few health problems, all symptoms of bodies suffering from heat stress as per these studies and many others.
Ms. Pieterson, the evidence is in the ICNIRP report itself, if only an independent person will read it. I ask you, Ms. Pieterson, to be that person, and to act on our behalf as no one else has. At the very minimum, the Precautionary Principle, to which Health Canada subscribes, should be followed.
Victoria, British Columbia
FDA Device Reviewers Allege Agency Coerces Unsound Judgments
By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: November 20, 2008
WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 -- Some FDA reviewers of devices and diagnostic products have protested to a congressional committee that they have been pressured into approval recommendations that were against their best scientific judgments.
In their letter of complaint, which was released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health reviewers said that managers, who had no expertise in medical devices, forced changes in written opinions.
The reviewers, including physicians and scientists, said such coercion was against the law.
"To avoid accountability, these managers at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health have ordered, intimidated, and coerced FDA experts to modify their scientific reviews' conclusions and recommendations in violation of the law," the reviewers wrote.
When the reviewers tried to go over their managers' heads, they were reprimanded and subjected to reprisals, including "removal and threatened removal," said the letter.
The reviewers pleaded for congressional intervention to address the "serious misconduct." Specific reviews documented in the letter were kept confidential by the committee, as were the names of the whistle-blowing reviewers.
"Such activity could allow potentially unsafe and ineffective medical devices into the U.S. market," said Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) and Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), in a release. Stupak also serves on the House Energy and Commerce committee, which oversees the FDA.
The congressmen said they would begin an investigation into the charges.
The reviewers said that their managers ordered them to use "unsound evaluation methods," and to accept clinical and technical data that was not scientifically valid or that was obtained illegally by not receiving proper informed consent from human participants.
The letter said most of the problems were with applications for products similar to others already approved, which require less stringent review. But applications for first-in-class devices, involving extensive safety and efficacy testing, were also affected, the letter added.
"These allegations are deeply concerning, and we intend to uncover whether any FDA activity has compromised the health and safety of America's consumers," said Dingell. "I commend the FDA scientists for courageously sounding the alarm on what appears to be a serious problem."
Stupak said the committee plans to learn what actions the FDA will take to fix problems with its device approval process while ensuring the whistleblowers do not face any retaliation from within the agency.
Dingell and Stupak sent a letter to FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach, M.D., requesting a briefing on the situation before Dec. 1.
According to that letter, Dr. von Eschenbach assigned an FDA staff member to investigate the allegations brought forward by many of the same scientists in a letter to the FDA head earlier this year, but no action has been taken.
A spokesperson said the FDA will respond directly to Congress.
On Tuesday, the committee sent another letter to Dr. von Eschenbach, this one questioning the agency's use of an Alaska-based public relations firm. Stupak called the agency's use of tax dollars to improve its public image "offensive" and possibly in violation of federal contracting laws.
From Henrik Eiriksson
Daniel G. Schultz, MD, director of FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, has resigned by "mutual agreement" with Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MD.
Schultz has headed the CDRH since 2004 and has spent a total of 15 years in the unit, which regulates medical devices and other hardware, in vitro diagnostics, and radiation-emitting products (including nonmedical devices such as microwave ovens).
His resignation follows accusations from inside and outside the FDA that the division was too cozy with the device industry. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) has probed allegations that devices were approved despite unfavorable reviews by the center's professional staff.
Last year, a group of CDRH staff reviewers sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee complaining that they had been pressured by their superiors to recommend device approvals against the evidence.